Passion in Porto

Porto in black and white
Photo:  Fernando Mendes PedroCC BY-NC-SA - Some Rights Reserved

Your heart beats faster when you reach Porto.

Comfortably seated at one of the terraces in the Carmo area, the éclairs of Leitaria da Quinta do Paço and the sweet food of Padaria Ribeiro are a perfect way of beginning this day and getting the necessary strength to climb the 225 steps of Portugal’s highest tower.

PaixaonoPorto_2.jpgWith your head in the clouds the view from the Clérigos Tower is simply astonishing – a true “Amor de Perdição” (love novel by Camilo Castelo Branco). You just wish to get lost within its corners and old streets filled with history.

PaixaonoPorto_3.jpgThis time we chose a tuktuk trip, travelling in this electrical and quiet vehicle that took us around the baroque city, with its Cathedral, the gild carving in the Church of S. Francisco and the magnificent tiles of the S. Bento Railway Station, the Chapel of Almas and the Church of Carmo.

We’re a bit hungry right now, but it seems hard to choose from Porto’s typical dishes – Francesinha or Porto Style Tripe – more sophisticated food or grab a bite or try varied specialties in the so characteristic local restaurants. We went for a Francesinha this time, in the house where they say it was created – Regaleira… and the experience turned out to be as “spicy” as our love.

PaixaonoPorto_4.jpgFor coffee, nothing better than the Majestic, located on the commercial street of Santa Catarina, whenever possible on the terrace, lazily enjoying the sun. A shopping atmosphere all over the place …

When walking down the street called “31 de Janeiro” we’re surprised by the Lugar da Joia, where one can eventually watch how a filigree piece is made …

PaixaonoPorto_5.jpgNext stop: Ribeira – we cross the river on a Rabelo boat and keep this lifelong beautiful picture of what is called a Cascata Sanjoanina (typical house cascade).

Back to the Historical Centre, a tram trip awaits us - another chance to fall in love with the river Douro along its bank up to the Garden of Passeio Alegre.

PaixaonoPorto_6.jpgBut in Porto, the river goes hand in hand with the sea. And here we are, then, you and me, by the lighthouse, side by side, cuddled by the waves, embraced by the sunset and rocked by the magic of the landscape, so beautiful and wide…

On the seaside terrace we enjoy a delicious “Porto tónico” (a refreshing combination of white port and tonic water) as time goes silently by. We want to go to Serralves and Casa da Música, too, but we have to leave it for tomorrow.

What now? Maybe a quiet dinner, here in the Foz Velha area, or going back to the city centre, where the whole city gets together and night becomes alive.

By the way, about that filigree piece you fell in love with?…

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Published 11-02-2013